It's available now; the newest installment in the world of Espar! Join the next generation of DragonKeepers!
The ebooks are up at the below links. Thanks to the deals by Island Blue Print, I should have the print copies for locals mid-June. And as a bonus, we now have an amazing map of the World of Taint courtesy of Astra Crompton. Espar's only one corner of it, but it's exciting to see it finally put together!
If you'd like a copy directly from me, send me a note (Contact page is HERE) and I'll put one aside! Otherwise, the links are below. For a universal ebook link click HERE
A promise that brings war...
When the king was killed by his advisor, only the DragonKeeper knew the truth. She was exiled and, without her support, the Kingdom of Espar fell to the Lionian Sovereignty.
Fifty years later, Cairon Mirk is the DragonKeeper, and he has little sympathy for the Esparans who abandoned his grandmother. But an oath remains, that he will defend the line of the Kings of Espar. When he stumbles across Danoron Galanth and his sister Gensiana, helping the Heirs of Espar enrages the Sovereignty and brings a bounty onto the heads of dragons. To save his dragon family, Cairon must abandon his isolated life and do battle with the invincible Lionian Sovereignty.
But the Sovereignty does not act alone. Traitors hide among the Esparan rebels. New weapons are raised against the dragons, able to burn even a silver's scale. And an enemy of the past has come to end both Cairon's reign as Dragonkeeper and his life.
I admit; I am a bit obsessed with dragons. Right now, everyone's talking about unicorns, and I don't care. Where are the dragons? That's what interests me!
I find it fascinating that almost every culture the world-over has myths about dragons. Many are huge snakes only, but you can go back through ancient written history and find these stories all over the globe and call it a dragon. Off the top of my head, there's been Apep (Egyptian), Ladon, Python, Typhon (all Greek, plus unnamed ones…), Lindworm (Germanic), Fafnir (Scandinavian), Wyrms and Wyverns (English), Long (Chinese, possibly also Vietnamese), the Leviathan (Biblical-Jewish), Naga (Indonesian), Tiamat (Babylonian), Bahamut (Arabian), Tarasque (French)… And those are just the ones I know! There are thousands out there, named or unnamed, that share the giant reptilian /dragon style.
Why does the world have myths about dragons? Perhaps that would be a good topic for a short story. The 2002 movie 'Reign of Fire' supposed that dragons existed and hibernated between killing sprees! But the main two theories I have heard are 1. We're scared of snakes, so big snakes make a lot of sense as monsters or 2. Ancients saw fossils and drew conclusions.
I think the former is more likely. We, like monkeys, have a reasonably instinctual fear of snakes. Kids often have a fear of snakes even if they live in areas without many snakes. Monkeys who have never seen a snake before, never been exposed to another monkey's reaction to a snake, will still react with fear when they see one. It's a strange genetic memory we do not understand.
Not everyone is scared of snakes (about 40%), but it's enough to make snakes great monsters. And then imagine the thing could fly! Many eastern dragons have no wings but fly.
I'm less convinced that a dinosaur (or other) fossil would universally make dragon myths. Some parts of the world are very fossil-poor. And even if they found a bone or two, they would lack the skills to dig up enough to have any idea what the creature was. There's not enough in those bones for me to believe the whole world would create a myth.
The neatest thing about dragons is how they differ. Some have wings. Some blow fire. Some have many heads. Some have horns. Some have magic teeth or bones.
And the 'rules' for dragons are profoundly malleable. Sacrifice a damsel. Cut off its head. Steal its hoard. Brainless monster. Sophisticated riddler.
Dungeons and Dragons were best known for codifying the dragons by colour, and in doing so combined the myths of many cultures. They even have a monster called Tiamat and one Behemoth. They separated the different archetypes into different beasts, even expanding into dragonkin.
Were the dragons of Espar in the World of Taint inspired by D&D? Strangely, no. While I have played D&D, Espar was born before that, and I wanted the dragons to be more animal, less magical. I figured out how they flew and their dragon breath. And I made the colours different breeds, not species, and created an origin for the various breeds. They had more in common with dogs (if dogs had been bred by magical beings).
But that's the wonderful thing about dragons. No matter how you change a dragon, it's probably somewhere in the mythology of the world, and everyone will recognize it as a dragon. It's a myth everyone knows.
Pre-orders are up!
After Sair set up a legacy of dragonkeepers serving the Kings of Espar in "Dragon's Talon," something went very wrong…
Now conquered, Espar has no king. The War of the Pass drove the dragonkeepers into exile, believed to be enemies of the kingdom. Isolated, they devoted their lives to the dragons instead. But now the last dragonkeeper has heard the pleas of the fragmented, dying royal line and must decide if the kingdom is worth saving at all.
"Dragon's Talon" is the first book in the Weapons of Espar duology and is the product of about twenty years of work. It was one of the first stories I completed to some degree of satisfaction! Armed with a much better understanding of writing and publishing, it took its current form over the winter and is now available for pre-order ebooks.
Unfortunately, the paperback is not showing for pre-order yet (I'm working on it). If you'd like a copy, you can message me directly or wait for it to go live on May 31st, 2020 and order it then! Follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and you'll get a reminder as the date draws near!
The book was written when I was tired of the farm boys saving the kingdom because of prophecies. I decided to write my own story, where the hero is a lovable grouch, the girls can hold their own just fine, and the dragons are the ones who need saving. "Dragon's Talon" was the result. It contains some of my favourite characters I have ever written; the king's sister Gensiana, and the current dragonkeeper, Cairon. And of course, has the snarky fairy dragons and the immeasurably patient (and enormous) silver dragon MoonStone.
Their full tale concludes in SoulBurner, which is due out November 2020.
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.